I have a few memories of Amy Winehouse.
One is in Norway, which is an awful coincidence given the terrible shootings there this weekend. It was at a recovery BBQ for a Wedding, the weather was warm, the party attendees nicely drunk or hungover when “I don’t wanna go to rehab” came on the ipod mix. My brother-in-law, who has long struggled with his own demons, jumped up and said they’re playing my song and started to dance; wildly, crazy, and free. The more senior members of the party looked at the ground or studied their wine glasses. The younger, more inebriated of us just laughed.
My other memories are purely tabloid. Amy drunk. Amy sad. Amy drug-fucked. Amy OK. Amy not OK
That Winehouse died alone (I’m guessing) after 10 years being a poster-girl for wasted youth, and a spectacle eagerly consumed by tabloids is a tragedy. A look at Winehouse’s twitter page is instructive. One of the similar users is tabloid disgrace Perez Hilton.
Winehouse was the same age as my sister, who also died alone, a victim of addiction and destructive hedonism. My sister’s battles were largely personal, unshared with her family and friends. Winehouse’s battles were a public spiral into the gutter which sold a lot of magazines. The end result is the same. Another life wasted because of drugs, alcohol, and desire.
Our society doesn’t tolerate wastedness very well except at mandated public events – Christmas, New Years, Melbourne Cup, and if you’re under 30, every Friday night. Being wasted on a Monday morning is to gaze into the Nietzschean void and loudly declare, “Fuck you all. Fuck corporations. Fuck your God!” To do it on a Friday is to be a joiner, a team player, or great bloke. The fissure between the two modes of behaviour is almost non-existent. A Friday drinking can turn into a wasted Monday for someone with poor support structures, depression, or a baggage too painful to bear alone.
The death of Amy Winehouse forces us to remember those who’ve also died too early, alone, and a victim of a Nietzschean rage at the world and themselves.
We should be able to do better for them.
Photo credit: Crikey